The Sins of His Grandmother

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Chapter 14

No more time could be wasted. Thoughts of death by starvation weren’t sitting too well with Mr. Sillow. In his crazed mind, he had come to the conclusion that he would begin to eat his very flesh if need be. But first, he had to pay a return visit to Mrs. Marshall as a means of preventing having to resort to such an extreme length in order to survive. Revisiting her was a notion that had been swirling around in his head for the past few months. Ever since his finances had began to freeze up, Mr. Sillow, who possessed a genius-level IQ, often ruminated over Mrs. Marshall’s tirade against Yarmouthians. Though he wasn’t able to definitively piece together her allusions to the city of Boston, he reflected on context clues to piece together the gist of what she was saying. What he came up with: She was somehow making money there - illegally - a whole dray load of it. His hope was that she would enlighten him as to how she was making all of this extra dough.

Travelling by horse and buggy to see her was out of the question. The sight of his buggy was sure to incite a riot. Though his uniquely massive frame was a dead giveaway of his identity, travelling on foot would allow him much greater mobility and conspicuity than his bulky, ostentatious carriage. Having this freedom of movement would lead him to venture underground. He determined that it would be in his best interest to travel throughout the town by way of its sewer system from now on.

Mr. Sillow’s eyes had opened on this particular morning before the sun had arisen in the sky. He had awoken with the mind state that he was going to put his persisting thoughts in motion on this day. So, once his children had left for school and his wife had headed out to work, he lingered around the house for a little while until he felt certain that his neighbors would have also left their homes for the day. Then, at around 10:30 a.m. that morning, Mr. Sillow began putting his thoughts into motion. After carefully surveying the four sides of his home through its second floor windows to ensure that the coast was clear, he bolted outside, sprinted over to the manhole that was situated several feet over from his home, hastily pried up its cover, and courageously dove into the unknown. The sewer’s smell was otherworldly and its aura ghastly, but Mr. Sillow was apparently unfazed by the conditions. Determined to make a better life for himself and the young lady he planned on winning over, he dedicatedly plodded through gunks of shit and fermenting urine on to his destination. The light from his lantern sent the roaches and rats of the netherworld scampering to find refuge as he made his way deeper into their rarely-visited territory. Using nothing but his mental recollection, he had painstakingly drawn up a map highlighting all of the city’s manholes the previous night and was utilizing it to make his way to Mrs. Marshall’s downtown store. He could hear an unsettling quantity of activity going on above ground as he passed beneath several manhole covers on his way to the downtown area. It was a Friday afternoon, and downtown was sure to be teeming with persons cashing their paychecks and shopping for necessities for the upcoming week. As much as he wished that their preoccupations would afford him the good fortune to just pop up amongst them unnoticed, he knew that it would be impossible to make his way to the surface via the manhole nearest Mrs. Marshall’s store. It was located in the heart of downtown. Making his emergence there would be equivalent to committing suicide. Instead, he had marked an X on an alternate manhole on his map through which he would surface. The site he had designated for this was a tranquil, affluent residential area that was less than a quarter-mile away from Mrs. Marshall’s grocery store. As he trudged along, he was beginning to hear the dissonant sounds of clamorous street music and indiscernible chatter in the distance. Suddenly, he was struck with exorbitant elation. His makeshift map had been completely on the money thus far. He was just minutes away from downtown. The sound of so much activity taking place above him excited him. He was now zipping through the poorly-lit tunnel system. Once he was directly beneath Yarmouth’s business district, he detoured down a tunnel to the right and ran as fast as he could until he arrived at the manhole through which he would ascend to earth’s surface. Glancing upward, he smiled wryly as the sun’s golden rays that had snuck through the pick holes integrated into the manhole cover shimmered across his face. Grabbing on to the heavily rusted ladder in front him, Mr. Sillow carefully pulled his heavy frame up ’til he could proceed no further, removed the cover of the manhole with the mighty thrust of a single forearm, and inhaled his first breath of fresh air in the past two hours.

Just as he had anticipated, the residential area he had emerged in was completely quiet and void of activity. Everything for him thus far was going according to plan. His only wish at that point and time was that the rest of his mission would go as smoothly. Once he had climbed back up to ground level, his next order of business was to make a swift change of clothes in some nearby bushes. He was wise enough to have brought along with him an extra shirt, pant, cloak, and pair of shoes inside of a haversack as he knew that his journey through the septic system would leave an unpleasant odor lingering on his garments. A bottle of cologne had also been brought along to ensure that any traces of malodor that may have persisted after he had changed outfits would be masked.

Mr. Sillow was now at a crossroad. Doubt hindered him from making any further progress. It was as though he had jeopardized his health in vain in the bowels of the unsanitary underground tunnels. Not even his boundless infatuation for Amanda was reason enough for him to risk stepping a foot anywhere near the pullulating downtown area. He knew better. But he couldn’t just abort his mission, and he admitted to himself that he should have planned out every single aspect of his venture more thoroughly. The minutes were quickly passing by, and his mind was being inundated with dubitable ways to get in touch with Mrs. Marshall before she would have left her workplace at 5:00 p.m. Then, in the middle of his thoughts, he heard something, something his distressed mind translated to be salvation. Coming from his left were what seemed to be the sounds of horses inside one of the residential area’s carriage houses that had been left wide open. He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Perhaps it was too good to be true. He had to make an inspection. In seconds he had made his way over to what was indeed an unlocked carriage house. Jackpot. Wasting no time, the desperate rambler tacked up the horse nearest to the wide open carriage house door and affixed it to a sleek carriage. He also threw some carriage lamps that were hanging up on the back wall of the carriage house into the carriage just in case…. Moments later, he was racing to meet Mrs. Marshall downtown for their unscheduled meeting.

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